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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the weeks leading up to my purchase of my first projector, I started noticing that I've been a lot more critical of the quality of the projected image in movie theaters. Is it just me or do we, as movie and HT buffs, seem more forgiving of the images we see in movie theaters? I'm talking about scratches, dirt, hair and other debris that we so often see at the movies, along with the natural grain found in celluloid. The thing is, when we get a DVD transfer with any kinds of these flaws, we automatically notice them to the point of distraction. Lately, I've also started paying attention to the actual screen that's being projected on. For example, when I saw AOTC recently, it bugged me to no end that I could see vertical seams in the screen. I don't recall being this picky before, and certainly not about the condition of the screen material itself. Anyone else feel this way or am I just a nut in the corner?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by eujin
Anyone else feel this way or am I just a nut in the corner?
Yes (on both counts) :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was pretty sure about the latter--glad to know there's at least one other person who qualifies for the former. :-D
 

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Between the film quality, the behavior of the audience, uncomfortable and poorly designed seating with disrupted sightlines from those seated in front of me, high prices, lousy and high-priced refreshments ---- what's to be critical about? :)


I've long quit going to movie theaters. If I want to treat a movie as a social outing, I go to the drive-in.

Dave
 

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I too go to the movies very infrequently now.


Only if there's something I really can't wait to see.


When I went to Star Wars: ATOTC the masking was KILLING me!


The bottom of the image was overlapping the bottom mask by about 2 feet.


At least I'd guess about two feet. I was sitting about 2/3s back so it could have been even more.


I kept thinking about how many hours I spent to get my picture lined perfectly with my screen, then I've got to deal with this.


The good news, when I saw it a second time (in the same theater) it was corrected.
 

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Bryanmc,

I had the same experience with that film not being masked correctly, about 1.5 feet on the right was on the mask and 1.5 feet of blank screen was showing on the left. During the opening credits I went to Customer Service to make them aware and get it fixed. After the film was over and nothing was fixed I visited customer service again and they were nice enough to give me a pass to see the movie again any time I wanted. From a practically full theater of people I was only one who said anything. If movie goers put up with this there is no good reason for the theater management to make any changes. If anyone on the forum spots a flaw in their movie going experience that can be fixed, I would suggest that they bring it to the attention of the theater management. They may start fixing these problems, or at least you will usually get a pass to see a free movie.


To answer the initial post, Yes I think we probably are more critical. I for one have become much more critical since I took the time to set up my home theater corrrectly (well as correctly as I can afford).

Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
AOTC seems to be a particular example. When I saw it, apart from the poor condition of the screen material itself, I also noticed that the image was not centered correctly--plainly obvious when the backstory was scrolling through space. I didn't bother to get up to say anything because I was with group of people and didn't have the option of walking out on the flick.
 

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If you don't have a HT then the big screen is enough of a wow factor that the rest don't matter. But once you have a projector at home, the size is not impressive as much, so the flaws come into perspective.


at least that is my theory on the subject.
 

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Okay okay, this has been discussed before - what's wrong with you guys?


But boy, it sure is a fun topic! Heh heh heh; I never get tired of griping about the poor quality of commercial movie theaters.


Before getting into HT I didn't notice the problems with the multiplexes, but now they drive me to distraction - so much so that I don't go anymore unless I am overcome by a bout of stupidity.


Fortunately (or unfortunately, as you may see it) I live in Los Angeles. Aside from smog, earthquakes, 24/7 gridlock and cars everywhere, we do have one thing going for us: Hollywood is here. And so there are at least a few top quality theaters where you can consistently see what 35mm film is all about.


But aside from those few screens, it's just terrible. Our ubiquitous chain in Southern California is Edwards Theaters, and they truly suck.


In fact they've turned their crappiness into a marketing ploy - they have a few "premier" type screens. These aren't as good as top quality movie-studio subsidized theaters but they're decent. Anyway, posters in the lobbies of regular Edwards multiplexes advertise these premier screens as having "crystal clear" sound and a "giant" picture. After sitting through an Edwards presentation a transistor radio would sound crystal clear.


Okay, I'm done ranting. Until the next anti-commerical-theater thread, anyway. :D
 

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I am an obsessive movie-goer--100 to 200 times a year--and also an ardent fan of digital projectors. Since I am projectorless right now, I go more than I did when I had a PJ. I also like to see movies when they first come out, and if I like them, I go as many as ten times during the theater run. Insane? Of course.


Here in Memphis I regularly go to eight different multiplexes, to the point where I am familiar with differences in image quality from theater to theater and room to room. After having seen ten different digital projectors, I can honestly say that only occasionally does a 35mm theater experience equal a good HT experience in terms of brightness and snap. And, oddly enough, some of the worst PQ in commericial theaters here is in the newest, supposedly state of the art houses (including the one which has the digital Star Wars). Lately, I have become so critical, that I have started going to one of the older theaters which was built in the first decade of multiplexes, when companies were still using top-notch projectors. No digital projector can match the PQ of of the film print of Insomnia, which I have seen five times, but only if I see it at the Forest Hill Cinema. When I watched it at the Wolfchase, a newer cinema, it looked like a letterboxed DVD on a defocused SVGA projector. A Sanyo XP21, in my living room, would have totally smoked it.


Bottom line: I do go to the movies, but I do also agree with the main premise of this thread. I am known as the Old Guy Who Always Complains about the Focus and the Sound.


Mike
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by AnthonyP
If you don't have a HT then the big screen is enough of a wow factor that the rest don't matter. But once you have a projector at home, the size is not impressive as much, so the flaws come into perspective.


at least that is my theory on the subject.
I agree with that. I never paid close attention prior to owning a projector. Now I look closely at masking, distortions, colors, brightness, contrast, artifacts, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've always been pretty picky about the quality of projection and sound at theaters--that's why I started this thread--but have become WAY more critical ever since getting interested in digital projectors. The thing is, I like going to the movies, especially if it's a flick that I've been anticipating for a long time or something that's a definite crowd favorite. The atmosphere and audience reactions can be priceless. The downside, of course, is that there is absolutely no control over the quality of the projected image or sound at all, and while audiences can be great fun, they are more often incredibly annoying--someone kicking the back of your chair, an idiot on the cell phone, talkers during the movie, people who bring infants with them, etc.


I currently live in Boston and I have to say that the multiplexes here suck. The seats are too small, sound is usually distorted and don't even get me started on projection problems. I'm comparing the theaters in Beantown to ones in Singapore (where I grew up), London and New York (both cities I've lived in for extended periods). It's shocking to me what audiences will put up with at $10 a pop. The best place to see a movie in the Boston area is the Premium Cinema out in Framingham--THX-certified for picture and sound, leather seats, no minors, all-you-can-eat popcorn and soda, reserved seating, but you get to pay $18 for it. Quite worth it IMHO, especially for movies like LOTR.
 

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I cant walk into a theater without looking for speaker placement and acoustical treatments. Then when the movie starts I start looking at screen quality.


It subsides after a while unless the screen has a golf ball sized hole in it like the one at the Bridgewater Mall :eek: (holy [email protected]! for $8.50 a seat grab some tape and fix that thing!)
 

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I'll tell you what bothers me, other than the issues already pointed out. Multiplex theaters with different size/setups in each theater. I took my son to see SW AOTC, only because my theater's not ready, and I felt this would be one movie to see on a big screen. Well the local 20 movie multiplex had 3 theaters showing the movie. We ended up in one of the smaller theaters. As usual, I was checking out the treatments, etc. and noticed, where are all the surround speakers?! When the movie started, it was obvious. There were none. Only front firing speakers that I assume were behind the screen.


I thought Lucas mandated that SW only be shown in THX theaters. While the multiplex has THX theaters, this particular room was not one of them :mad:
 

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When I go to a theater to examine the screening rooms, I find it helpful to go several hours in advance and hang out in the unused, lit ones and really absorb the entire experience of staring at the speakers, screen seams, acoustical panels, foot lighting, etc.


It sounds like many of the posters in this thread have had their jaunts to the multiplex to see a theater ruined by some idiot turning off the lights and trying to show a movie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Robertmee, Lucas did not mandate THX theaters. His recommendation was to have it shown in digital theaters and, to my understanding, regular non-THX theaters that have passed some kind of nebulous inspection. If it was THX only, there would only be one cinema in the Boston area (the premium cinema I mentioned above) showing AOTC, as the new multiplexes that DO have digital projection aren't even THX-certified.
 
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